In our society, retirement is the Holy Grail. We work a lifetime to save away money for retirement so we can FINALLY do all of the things we’ve been waiting to do.
Not so fast, this dream is quickly changing with each generation. We no longer want to wait until we turn 65 to go on safari or climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, and with the rise of digital nomads, everyone wants to make the travel lifestyle a reality.
This is when the idea of a career break starts to pop into your mind.
A career break is a just that – a break.
It can be from 3 months to 3 years, and solo or with your family in tow - anything goes!
The benefits to a career break are numerous. Most importantly getting away is essential for effective thinking. Combine your career break with travel and reap even more benefits.
Exposure to cultures that function differently from our own – from language to social customs to public transport – awakens the brain, alerting it to a much broader range of possibilities for being, living, and making.
The obvious answer is to do what you always wanted to do and go see what you dreamed of seeing. Sometimes what you need is to grow your experiences and develop skills outside of the workforce. That can be done through travel, further education, or longer term volunteering.
The key is to get away, and find out what your 'away' is.
Most people feel that including volunteering, or philanthropic work, in your career break is a key to building your skills and hire-ability when you return to the workforce.
During your break start to look closely at what you have learned and how you can apply it to your career when you return.
Consider how you can confidently sell the experiences you gained via cover letters, on your resume, and in interviews.
One thing you can expect is a traveling career breaker will stick out from other candidates; you are memorable, you’ve done something unique and something most people only dream of doing.
Just make sure you're prepared to confidently speak about the ‘why’ and ‘what’ of your break in terms that will benefit the company.
As for me, my career break actually took me in a completely new direction. Once I got away from the cube, I realized I wanted to break out on my own and really change the direction of my life. No more cubes for me!
About Meet, Plan, Go!
Meet, Plan, Go! is leading the career break movement in North America; encouraging and teaching others how to travel the world and have it be beneficial to your career. They envision a world where the term ‘career break’ is a part of your overall career strategy. Their online career break class provides instruction on what you need to do to leave your cube and plan the trip of a lifetime within a supportive community.
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While a gap year is mostly about having a good time, it's also a great time to study abroad, teach, or volunteer.